All week on Making it in America, we’re taking you through a Budget Boot Camp.
Financial freedom can play a crucial role in anyone's quest for better. You don't have to be rich to make it in America, but being buried under debt limits your life choices, and it limits your possibilities.
The thought of paying down credit card debt, or any type of debt, can be very overwhelming and stressful. Americans have racked up a total of $11.4 trillion in debt, including $852 billion in credit card debt, and a lot of people are having a hard time paying it off. The typical U.S. household owes about $15,418 in credit card debt; an average mortgage debt of $149,782; and about $34,703 in student loan debt, according to Federal Reserve data collected by Nerd Wallet.
Creating a plan, and sticking to it, is the only way to get your finances straightened out. Living debt free allows you to live for yourself, and to make your own choices. HLN Money Expert Clark Howard says once you get on a plan and start saving, you'll realize just how much it can improve your life. You have to change your mentality and treat saving as an expense, just like everything else in your life. Clark says figure out what exactly you're spending on each month, and then you can figure out which expenses can be cut, or trimmed.
If you're ready to get your budget back in order, check out this budget calculator from CNN Money.
Catch Clark's best budgeting tips TODAY on Making it in America at 4 p.m. ET. Clark talks to a 26-year-old guy who was able to pay off $26,500 in debt in less than two years. Plus, the finance guru suggests ways for you to start saving.